ATHENS – College Year in Athens (CYA), the noted ‘study abroad’ institution, held the latest of its public scholarly and cultural presentations on May 20 in Athens. The colloquium’s topic was, ‘Travelers, Archaeologists, and Archives: The Development of Greek Epigraphy and Topography from the Manuscripts of Early Pioneers’.
Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions, the science of ascertaining their meanings with respect to dates and cultural contexts. Scholars draw conclusions about the writing but also about the writers – who are often colorful and sometimes shady characters, as the audience learned.
Once validated, their work is vital to archaeology, because they assist in identifying and locating buildings and artifacts, cities like Athens famous for lost or still-buried evidence.
Fans of history owe a debt to the scholars who bury themselves in archives and suffer eyestrain and headaches from handwritten notes often illegible to begin which decay further over time.
CYA’s Robert K. Pitt welcomed the guests and offered his own presentation on Michel Fourmont. The first presentation was by Angelos P. Matthaiou of the Greek Epigraphic Society, and was followed by Alessia Zambon, who spoke about new discoveries pertaining to Boeckh’s CIG, the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum published by August Böckh between 1825 and 1860.
Georgia E. Mallouchou of the Archaeological Society of Athens presented ‘Old Archives and Papers: A History of Attic Epigraphy by Greek Epigraphists of the 19th Century’ and the Colloquium concluded with the British School in Athens’ Michael Metcalf, who spoke on the epigraphs and texts in the archives of William Martin Leake.